And the IFTA goes to…

Last night, the newly renamed DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (the Burlington, to you and I) played host to the 11th annual Irish Film and Television Academy Awards.

I’ve commented upon the stylistic choices of the attendees for the past three years but what paraded down the red carpet in 2014, impressed me greatly. This year, it appeared a more conscious effort was made to champion both upcoming and established Irish designers on the red carpet, from both attendees and hosts alike.

As the IFTA’s are held to celebrate and mark the talents of our island’s most successful in the domains of film and television, I think it necessary that the fashion domain heralds a nod too.

Thus, if you are listening Academy, I think it would be a great (and possibly profitable) idea if you broadcast a pre-show of the couture and conversations that happen on the red carpet. Unsurprisingly, I’m also willing to host it…

Laura Whitmore - IFTA 2014First up, one of the night’s hosts; Laura Whitmore. The Bray native arrived onto the red carpet in a beautiful floral-adorned, full-length dress by John Rocha.

In the middle of the ceremony, Laura changed into a creation by upcoming Irish designer Oliver Duncan Doherty; a juxtaposition of simplicity and decoration with the most embellished shoulders I have ever seen. If I’m honest, I preferred Laura’s second dress – though, I’m a fan of shoulder pads!

Aobhín GarrihyOther young design talent included Eamonn McGill for model Nadia Forde and Sean Byrne’s ethereal blush gown for Aoibhín Garrihy.

At previous award ceremonies and events, Aoibhín often arrived in leather bodices and studs, courtesy of Emma Manley, but this feminine silhouette and colour palette was a real crowd pleaser – by that, I mean Twitter liked it!


The Seoige sisters. Where to start?

Gráinne & Síle Seoige

Both dressed in Theia Couture, Gráinne and Síle looked sensational on the red carpet last night.

As a designer, it must be extraordinarily difficult to design for sisters – ensuring that one dress or sibling doesn’t outshine the other. A difficult feat which Don O’Neill reveled in. The two gowns were similar enough to compliment each other whilst simultaneously allowed the differing personalities to be explicitly exhibited.

Seated at the same table as President Michael Higgins and his wife Sabina, the Seoige’s were dressed better than many a royal or a diplomat!

Caroline Sleiman

Also on my best-dressed list was Caroline Sleiman of Hennessy Cognac Ireland. A exquisite sequin gown by couturier Umit Kutluk.

Deirdre O' Kane & Karen KosterWhilst many attendees looked to designers for both bespoke and couture creations, some attendees sought dresses from the highstreet. Two of my favourites?

Best actress nominee Deirdre O’Kane in Fran and Jane and Xposé’s Karen Koster in Coast.

If I was allowed, I would wear Deirdre’s sequined blazer all-day, every day! I mean, it’s exactly what my local Tesco needs…

At the IFTA’s, it wasn’t just the ladies who impressed sartorially, quite a few of the men did too!

Jamie Dornan - IFTA 2014

The hashtag for last night’s event was completely hijacked by the fan club of Jamie Dornan. Thousands of tweets were sent!

These are best divided into two schools of thinking; The first half congratulated him on his two IFTA awards whilst the other half focused on salivating over him in a tuxedo.

Both groups had a point!

Don’t worry, I too am wondering what is written on that piece of paper at his foot.

Two particular gentlemen strayed from the traditional dress-code of a black suit.

The Stag’s Andrew Scott’s choice of a navy suit was refreshing whilst Darren Kennedy wearing a suit of his own design (a collaboration with Louis Copeland) was just what the red carpet needed.

Andrew Scott & Darren Kennedy

Every year, I hope someone emulates Henry Holland in Mary Katrantzou. Lads, someone make it happen next year – please and thank you!

But now, the most exciting part. Well, for me anyway!


In fifth place, host of IFTA award-winning programme ‘Operation Transformation’, Kathryn Thomas.

Kathryn approached one of my favourite Irish designers for her red carpet look, Umit Kutluk. It takes great bravery to adorn your derriere with feathers but Kathryn carried it off with tremendous amounts of panache!

Angela Scanlon & Kathryn Thomas

In fourth place is fashion-darling, Angela Scanlon. One of three people to choose John Rocha last night, Angela was the perfect embodiment of Rocha’s collection.

In joint-second place were Love/Hate co-stars Lynn Rafferty and Charlie Murphy.

Lynn Rafferty & Charlie Murphy

If you follow Lynn on Twitter, (which you should) she documented her pre-IFTA preparations in a series of tweets that made you wonder whether or not she would actually make the ceremony. Thankfully, she did!

Lynn and Charlie’s nod to old Hollywood were comparable to the gowns found on the most international of red carpets.

Finally – first place? I imagine you have a fair idea as to who it might be! (The picture on the right is more than a hint…)Amy Huberman

Last year, VIP magazine ran four pages on a pregnant Amy Huberman gracing the IFTA red carpet.

This year, her choice of designer Helen Cody alone, should guarantee her approximately five pages.

With a background of having worked in French Vogue and under the incredible Azzedine Alaia, Cody and Huberman are a match made in red carpet heaven. Kudos Amy and Ingrid!

Almost one thousand words later, that’s my insight into the fashion of last night’s film and television awards. However, who or what impressed you most at the IFTA’s? Who did I miss?

As always, you can comment below or tweet me a photo!


Written by

Sinéad Burke is an academic and a writer with an obsessive interest in fashion, education and 'Extraordinary Women'. She is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the National Women's Council of Ireland.